In Search of a Wise Old Man…

As a young man

I was in search

of a wise old man

but he was impossible to find.

When I got older

I became wiser

and learned

the world is run

by old fools

walking and talking

as if

they are wise.

One must find wisdom

for one’s self

because

Wisdom is true Wealth

Piles of gold, just sit there

whereas wisdom

can never be spent.

Traps and Truths

Upon discovering a truth

be sure that it isn’t a trap

a trap and a truth

sound the same

and look the same,

but they’re not—

knowing the difference, is wisdom.

the fool, willingly steps into traps, he knows are traps

the fool’s friend, the oaf, doesn’t know the difference between

a trap and a truth

He thinks he has the truth, when he is trapped

and he wastes his life

with beliefs that keep him religiously,

in the dark.

A truth is found in the dark

with the other senses, besides sight

When it’s seen, the light

is obvious, and it can never be put out.

A lie turns into something else

but a truth, stays the same

then the round village idiot

enters the square, and claims

truths and traps

mean the same thing.

A trap, is obvious

because it wants to be seen

and a truth, is frightening

because it reveals

the trap.

People don’t want to see their mistakes

So, which one, is more enticing?

It depends on who you are

a mongrel dog

that eats its own vomit

or a cunning fox

who knows its limitations.

The hunter chases the hunted

but only the fox is free.

Death Rattle

a sin

against our time

owning

the most precious resource

there are limits to what we can do

so each person must say

at the end of their day

I used my time well

there should be a sigh

of satisfaction

like the death rattle

expiring air

the outtake of breath

that,

Yes— I lived a worthwhile life.

When You’re In-Demand

I have the life I’ve always wanted

stopped short of success.

I guess

I want success, but I don’t know why.

Maybe, I feel

the need to do something

like playing pool

in a random universe

or, getting attention

so I can ignore everybody. (I’m already doing that—by the way)

When nobody wants you,

there’s no fun in hiding.

J.D. Salinger would not have enjoyed his time alone

if he didn’t know, there were thousands of literary elites

that wanted

to invade his privacy.

When you are in high demand, it’s important to keep it that way.

The young kid in the pro shop

wants to feel important

because

there’s a girl in there, with skin-tight jeans

and blonde hair

“Can I get out?” I ask.

He knows I have a membership.

“The back 9 is wide-open…” I suggest.

“I’ll get you out on the front 9 in 30 minutes,” he says with authority.

I know he has to act like a man, for the woman

so I don’t argue.

I get on the first green in two

and the cart girl is watching me

“Hey, do you want a beer?” She asks.

“Just one second.” I hole out a 20-foot putt.

“You’re pretty good,” she says.

I look at her

There’s a whole generation of young people who I used to be

When did I get older?

“Do you have any other talents?” She asks.

“Several…”

We chit chat

I take a coke, instead of alcohol, because I don’t drink

and she asks me why…?

“I have enough problems,” I say.

She giggles… “You don’t look like you have any problems.”

There’s permanent marker on the can

it’s her phone number.

When you don’t need

anything

life keeps giving

the trick is

to smile

and keep golfing.

In the Name of…

“There’s people in there,” Brad said.

“Are you sure? – they don’t look human.”

“Why do you say that?”

“The shadows on their skin.”

“They’re talking,” Maddie observed.

“Just because they talk, doesn’t make them human,” Brad said wisely. “Haven’t you ever been on the subway?”

“What do you mean?”

“Vampires.”

“They aren’t real.”

“You want to bet?”

“How can you be sure?” I asked.

“Do you remember when I dug two graves for Mr. Lions three weeks ago?”

“Yeah.”

“Well—he paid me two hundred dollars. It was a lot of work, for next to no money, so I got to thinking… What about those graves that have been in this village since the puritans?”

“You didn’t,” Maddie said in a hushed voice.

“I did. I was looking for treasure. I promised myself, I would rebury the body. I didn’t think I would find anything.”

“Well, did you?” Maddie asked.

“I found a skeleton lying on piles of gold—so much gold, it took five goes with the wheelbarrow to get the treasure home. I took all night, and finished, just before dawn. The skeleton had a stick in its sternum. I removed it. The stake was what killed him, I think. Anyway, when I went to return my last load, I came back—and the skeleton was missing. I thought Mr. Lions was playing a crazy joke on me, but my gut, told me otherwise. I threw up. I thought about that skeleton—its incisors were two inches long. Shortly, thereafter, people’s pets began to disappear. I didn’t want to say anything, because nobody would believe me, and if they did, I would have to return the gold.”

“Where is it now?” I asked.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

“Brad—the gold might be cursed.”

“I never thought of that—okay, okay—it’s in my mother’s Junker.”

“Your mother’s, what?”

“In her GMC. It seemed like a safe place because there’s no engine in it. It hasn’t been on the road in 15 years.”

“And you’re saying that you awakened a Vampire who was—good and dead?” Maddie asked.

“Yeah. Dead, but not good.”

“Then why are there four of them in there?”

“When a vampire bites a human, it makes another.”

“Then, why haven’t they bitten more people?”

“Because they wizened up. A vampire doesn’t like to eat another vampire. They’re cannibalistic by nature, but they need living blood, to look like the living. They’re rationing themselves—because when they eat each other—they really look like hell—and if too many people become vampires, there’ll be nobody left to drink—and that’s why they’re eating cats.”

“What about the fermi…”

“Formaldehyde,” Maddie corrected.

“The stuff in Science class?” I asked.

“I’ve been working on that…” Brad said. “Maybe, they want the town to believe cats and dogs are disappearing in the name of science.”

To be continued…

Never Call His Name, Again

that monster

that hides

in a deep dark closet

comes out, to say “hi” to me

time and time, again

he wants to be my friend

but I don’t want to

and

eventually, he keeps to himself

like one of those coats, hanging himself

in a deep dark room

gasping for air—

and I’m the only one who can give him life

but I don’t care

I want him to die.

He whispers to me, across the room, at midnight

“Please, let me be your friend,”

but I pretend

he’s not there.

“Come on, I’ll make you feel good—remember when we used to hang-out?”

I remember…

I wish

I didn’t.

He used to tell me, nobody would be my friend, except him—

that he was good, but with a bad reputation,

and chronically misunderstood.

One day, I realized

he was lying to me

and it was all I could do, to avoid him.

He was like a puppy

who wouldn’t leave me alone,

licking my hands,

and when I didn’t pat his head

he bit me.

I didn’t know, he was a dangerous dog

because I made friends with him, years ago.

It turns out

all he wanted

was my blood.

I called him, yesterday

and he bit me, again.

I kicked that dog

into my deep dark closet

and

I’m

never

calling his name

again.

Stuck

Stuck

with something good, that’s not good enough

the mantra

of the unenlightened capitalist—

the small man, who wants to make it big

life moves pretty fast, and you could miss it

to pause, is fine—

but a life of reflection,

must have something to reflect on

to move beyond oneself.

Mr. Lions has a Flashback

“Hey! What are you kids doing over there!?” Mr. Lions asked. He walked like a man on stilts. He was tall and wiry, so that he looked like a vulture that hadn’t eaten in three weeks. When Mr. Lions looked at us, he was hungry—a landowner who hated kids because they couldn’t pay rent. Aside from collecting, he loved to weed-eat.

“Blow it out your ass, old man,” Brad said.

“In Korea—I killed a couple kids about your age. They could pick-up a gun, and they did, so I had to—and in my old age, I see things… Doctors calls them flashbacks—I might be in Korea.”

“If that’s your idea of a threat, no wonder you lost the War,” Brad said.

Mr. Lions looked ready to kill. He went inside. Then he came out with his rifle.

“Run!”

But my friends were already three steps ahead of me.

CRACK.

“That son-of-a-bitch fired at us!”

“Are you hit?”

“No.”

“What about you Maddie?”

She was lying on the ground with her eyes closed. “I’m okay,” she said.

We were in a grove of willow trees—it reminded me of what my mother tried to do last summer. She was going to church and insisted on taking me. The ladies were covering Proverbs—”Spare the rod and…” My mother took their advice, but instead of a stick, she used a willow branch. I figure it hurt twice as bad. I never liked Sunday school very much.

“You got a light?” Brad asked.

He pulled-out one of those coffin nails and put it between his teeth.

“Sorry bro—I quit.”

“What? Are you afraid of dying?”

“You could say that. What do you think is on the other side?”

“Nothing—absolutely nothing.”

“What do you think Maddie?”

“I don’t think about it. We’re not even in middle school yet.”

She looked at me, like I was a boy and she was a mature woman. Girls could be infuriating.

The sunlight was going down, and the woods were red, like blood, and I thought about that bloodless corpse we found in the ditch.

“We should go home, before it gets dark,” Brad suggested.

“Yeah,” Maddie agreed.

It wasn’t long, before we found the street again, and passed the haunted house. It was empty, ever since the murder-suicide, three summers ago.

Now—a light was on in the living room.

To be continued…

The Missing Posters and a Dead Cat

The neighborhood was like one of those dark streets, where kids don’t go—a haunted block—a terrible shadow, in the sunlight. The Amazon driver dropped his packages at the corner. They were gone, the next morning, as if, somebody stole them, but nobody saw who did it. The people there, were invisible, like ghosts, that didn’t want to be seen. It was a place filled with sex offenders, x-convicts, and prostitutes who still worked the phone lines, but were too old to turn a trick. They were like leppers, who hid from each other. Their character was written on their faces like bad essays. The neighborhood was a graveyard—unkept, with tilted houses, like crypts. The creatures there, were the living dead. Their souls were waiting to leave, and they kept telling their bodies, “Let me go,” but their bodies were too weak to give permission. It was a horrible spot, a stain—a back alley, where drunkards are afraid to piss, but they do, anyway, because the place deserves to get pissed on.

This was the neighborhood where I grew-up, the summer after sixth grade.

There wasn’t much to do there, during the heat-wave, but kick aluminum cans around.

I was hanging, with the only kids close to my age—their dads were in prison—and mine, left my mother years ago.

The strange events of that summer began when I started to spot lost pet signs stapled to telephone poles.

One or two missing cats, is normal, but it was like the city pet population vanished overnight—every pole within three blocks was covered with missing pet signs.

“Our cats are gone, again” Maddie said.

“What do you think happened to them?” I asked.

“I don’t know—maybe they got hit by a car.”

“Both of them?”

“You know what it is…” Brad said. “Some psychopath preparing to kill us all. First, he tortures cats—then…” Brad was looking at Maddie.

“Stop trying to scare me,” Maddie said.

We were walking down the street, when I spotted a swarm of flies.

“Is that a dead body?” Brad asked.

“Smells like one.”

“Smells different than death—but not far off…”

“Smells like science class,” I said. “Fermali…”

“Formaldehyde,” Maddie corrected.

“That’s what it smells like. Smells like when we dissected cats.”

“Don’t tell me somebody is trying to preserve neighborhood pets for a profit, and sell them to high schools around the country.”

The cat corpse was nothing but skin, bones, and flies.

“What happened to the blood?” Maddie asked.

“It’s been drained.”

“There’s two puncture holes next to the neck. Do you see it? Just like a snake bite.”

To be continued…

Fathers and Sons

“Are you angry?” My mother asked me.

“No,” I said.

“Well—your writing comes-off as angry.”

“That could be,” I said. “Most of the time, I’m at peace with myself.”

“What about other people?”

“I don’t think about them.”

“You are judgmental.”

“Maybe…”

“Why don’t you write like Timothy Egan?”

“Bukowski is my hero.”

“He’s a drunk—womanizer—gambler—and you are none of those things.”

“Thanks mom, but avoiding sin, doesn’t make me moral.”

“What does?”

“Being authentic.”

“Who are you?”

“I don’t know.”

I went to the golf course with my dad.

“Your mother is getting into your business again,” he said.

“I know.”

“I told her not to—you’re a man, for crying out loud.”

“Thanks dad.”

“Don’t mention it.”

He teed-off, and hit four houses. “Damn. Where’s that cart girl, when you need her?”

“You want beer?”

“Yeah—what did you think? —I want to get laid?”

I shook my head and we went to the next hole. He hooked his shot into the woods. “Damn. My game gets worse, the more I play.”

“I hear that,” I said. I struck my ball up the fairway.

“You need to get some goals,” my dad said.

“I prefer to be spontaneous.”

We caught up to the next group. It was a father and son. I immediately realized how odd it was, that I was playing with my dad and he was playing with his dad, and both our fathers sucked at golf.

They were black and we were white, but it didn’t matter.

Charles swung, and knocked his ball into the lake. “Damn. This driver is new. You spend the money and get crap quality.”

“Dad, I told you to adjust your grip,” James said.

“I know son, but I’m the one who is supposed to be telling you what to do.”

My dad gets nervous around strangers—especially people of a different race. It’s not that he’s a racist, it’s just that, he doesn’t know what to expect from someone who looks different, talks different, and acts different. He’s afraid to go to Walmart—but truthfully, he would fit right in.

After two uncomfortable holes, Charles asked us if we were playing golf to get away from our wives.

“I’m not married, but when I get married, that’s a good idea,” I said.

“What’s the matter? —you like the fellas?”

“Naw—he’s just worried about making major life decisions with a woman,” my dad said.

“I hear that—”

The End,

but the conversation kept going…